Spindle assembly and spatial distribution of γ-tubulin during abortive meiosis and cleavage division in the parthenogenetic water flea Daphnia pulex

Zoolog Sci. 2012 Nov;29(11):733-7. doi: 10.2108/zsj.29.733.


In most animal species, centrosomes, the main microtubule-organizing centers, usually disintegrate in oocytes during meiosis and are reconstructed from sperm-provided centrioles before the first cleavage division. In parthenogenetic oocytes, however, no sperm-derived centrosome-dependent microtubule nucleation is expected, as fertilization does not occur. The water flea Daphnia pulex undergoes parthenogenesis and sexual reproduction differentially in response to environmental cues. We used immunofluorescence microscopy with anti-α-tubulin and anti-γ-tubulin antibodies to examine spindle formation and the occurrence of centrosomes during parthenogenetic oogenesis and the subsequent cleavage division in D. pulex. The spindle formed in abortive meiosis in parthenogenesis is barrel-shaped and lacks centrosomes, whereas the spindle in the subsequent cleavage division is typically spindle-shaped, with centrosomes. During abortive meiosis, γ-tubulin is localized along the spindle, while in the first cleavage division it is localized only at the spindle poles. Thus, D. pulex should provide a useful comparative model system for elucidating mechanisms of spindle formation and improving our understanding of how evolutionary modification of these mechanisms is involved in the switch from sexual to parthenogenetic reproduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Meiosis / physiology*
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Oocytes / physiology*
  • Parthenogenesis
  • Tubulin / metabolism*


  • Tubulin